Communication: Models, Principles and Problems

advertisement
Communication: Models, process and problems
LEARNING OBJECTIVES:



To understand the essential elements of communication
To become aware of the various ways people understand the nature
of communication
To understand the several barriers to communication
What is communication? It seems ironic that we do not fully appreciate the potential
power of communication in shaping our lives when, in fact, we are busy engaging
ourselves in various day-to-day forms, means, and problems of communication. By
reflecting on the nature of communication itself – (1) what it is, (2) how it works,
and (3) why it happens -- we can empower ourselves with the necessary analytical
and pragmatic skills in dealing with the many dimensions of communication which
are crucial in everybody’s success in life.
1. What is communication?
Even communication experts themselves disagree which among human behaviors
count as acts of communication. Although communication may either be verbal (use
of language) or non-verbal (use of gestures, facial expressions, etc.), two important
issues emerge from the debate. First, is the act intentional? And second, is the act
received? Three major positions are possible with these questions (Littlejohn 2002).
1.1 The sender-receiver model
There are those who think that communication only involves messages which have
been intentionally given to recipients who also received them. In other words, only
when the intended message has also been received correctly will communication
take place.
1.2 The receiver model
There are also those who believe that communication involves messages which are
meaningful to receivers. It does not matter whether they are intended messages or
not. For as long as receivers think the messages are meaningful in any way, then
communication has taken place.
1.3 The communication behavior model
Another group of people believe that, while communication ideally should only
involve messages intentionally sent and successfully received, this is not the case in
‘real’ communication situations. How can we determine the true intentions of
speakers and writers, anyway? This model therefore proposes that all kinds of
intentional sending and intentional receiving should be considered as acts of
communication.
1
2. How does communication work?
It is not enough to be aware of what counts as communication or what does not. A
true test in understanding communication is to know how it works. How does
communication work? With this question, we can also have many answers (models
adapted from DeVito 2001; Littlejohn 2002: 207-232; Rosenblatt et al. 1992;
Stanton 1982).
2.1 Linear model
This is perhaps the most basic model of communication. Communication involves two
people – the sender and the receiver of the message. The communication process is
relatively unproblematic: one person sends a message, and then another person
receives it. In this way, the flow of information is linear:
Sender
Receiver
Sender
Receiver
Figure 1: The Linear Model
2.2 Interactional model
An interactional view of communication assumes that the sender who encodes a
message also receives feedback from the receiver who decodes the message. This
view also includes channel or medium of communication, as well as the physical
environment (noise, seating arrangement, etc.):
Immediate physical environment
Sender
Encoding
Channel or medium
Decoding
Receiver
Feedback
Immediate physical environment
Figure 2: The Interactional Model
2
2.3 Transactional model
This model suggests that both the receiver and sender of the message change roles
most of the time. The receiver is also a sender of the message, while the sender is
also a receiver of the message.
Immediate physical environment
Sender
Receiver
Immediate physical environment
Figure 3: The Transactional Model
2.4.
Power-in-communication model
Simply put, this model of communication stresses the importance of power relations
in any form of communication. Not only does power influence communication; it is
part of any communication situation. This is, in fact, especially so in business
communication where a variety of dominant/subordinate roles are prevalent.
Society / Power in Society
Sender
Sender
Receiver
Power Relations
between participants
Receiver
Figure 4: The Power-in-Communication Model
2.5 Cultural model
Clearly, this model puts culture at the centre of the communication process.
Communication happens because of culture, so there is no adequate understanding
of the nature and process of communication without recognizing the central role of
culture in it. Communication involves language and other non-verbal modes of
interaction; all these are culturally-shaped. Communication also involves the
transmission and negotiation of meaning; these are also cultural practices.
3
Culture
Sender
Sender
Receiver
Receiver
Culture
Culture
Figure 5: The Cultural Model
These models, of course, are all incomplete. They are presented to you in such a
manner so you will understand the various “sides” of communication clearly. Put
together, however, these models give us the following general elements of
communication: Participants, Modes of communication, Immediate physical
environment, Relations of power, Cultures
What these tell us is this: whether you are writing an email to your boss, your
female colleague is engaging in a debate with a male colleague, or your project
group is discussing a seemingly unresolved problem, these communication contexts
will always have participants, take on various modes of communication (is it oral?
Written? Simultaneously oral/written like in an online chat?), immediate
environments, as well as be shaped by relations of power and cultures. If you know
that all these elements work together in every communication context, you may be
able to understand more adequately how and why people behave in a particular way.
3. Why does communication happen?
There are at least five general reasons why we communicate. These are: (1) to
influence people, (2) to establish or maintain interpersonal relationships, (3) to
acquire different kinds of knowledge, (4) to help people, and (5) to play (DeVito
2001). Out of these general purposes of communication emerge both some
motivations for communication, as well as results which we hope to achieve by
communication. Look at the following diagram (DeVito 2001: 17):
4
Inc
Rela
main tionship
tena
nce, formatio
n
fr
relati iendship and
onsh
s, lov
ips
e
relatio
others, nships, relate
interact
to
Need to
form
To
influence:
control,
manipulate,
direct
To re
late:
Esta
blish
/mai
nta
interp in
e
relati rsonal
onsh
ips
rea
se
the d kno
wo wle
rld dge
, sk
ill a of on
cqu ese
Ne
ed
isit lf, a
to k
ion
nd
now
,a
cq
lea uire
kno
rn
wle
dge
To
,
a lea
kn cquir rn:
o
of wle ed
oth ones dge
er elf
wo s, th ,
ac rld; e
qu
sk ire
ills
To play:
Escape
from work,
enjoy
oneself
sensory
MOTIVATION
asure,
ersion, ple
Need for div
n
gratificatio
satisfaction,
Enjoyment, pleasure,
gratification
GENERAL
PURPOSES
d
an
e,
ud
ttit
, a ent
n
o
m
l
t
ti
ee
ec jus
,f
dir ad
e, or
nd
nc avi
rie .
ida beh
ef tion
u
b
G
c
lp, fa
he tis
e, sa
ol in
ns , ga
o
c d
to de
ed nee
lp:
Ne
he to
To ister of
n
mi eds s,
ne her e
ot sol
n
co
Need to control, influence, gain
compliance, secure agreement
RESULTS
Influence, power, control,
compliance, agreement
Figure 6: Purposes, Motivations and Desired Results of Communication
4. What are the barriers to communication?
Therefore, communication is a complex activity. This explains why people always get
into trouble when they interact with others. According to Bovée and Thill (2000: 1719), communication barriers are usually due to a number of factors: (1) differences
in perception and language, (2) Poor listening, (3) Emotional interference, (4)
Cultural differences, (5) Physical distraction.
4.1 Differences in perception and language
Simply put, all of us have different mental images of the world or reality. Even if we
experience the same thing, we may still think of it in different ways. We remember
details of an experience based on what we think are worth remembering. So a
speaker and a listener may not be able to understand what one is talking about
because both have different things in mind. Language, too, is arbitrary. The words
that we use may mean differently to different people
4.2 Poor listening
Having ears of our own does not necessarily mean we are good listeners. Listening is
a skill that needs harnessing. Sometimes, it is a matter of attitude; we are not just
interested in what people say because we may be more concerned with the way
everyone looks. Focus on the message and the sincerity to understand what another
person is saying are crucial elements in good listening.
4.3 Emotional interference
Are you mad, happy, excited, agitated, nervous, or fearful? Emotions affect the
shape of communication. It is hard to be objective when you are very emotional. You
5
may not be able to think more realistically and truthfully about the content of the
message being sent or received.
4.4 Cultural differences
Nationality, age, education, social status, economic position, and religion are just
some of the sources of cultural differences. If you share very little life experience
with your co-communicator, successful communication may be difficult to achieve.
The same difficulty may be experienced in the workplace: even the sight of your
boss might create a certain distance that will make communication an agonizing
experience. Much worse is when you do not know how to deal with the boss; this is
because different cultures deal with power relations differently.
4.5
Physical distraction
Of course, everything around may be cause for some distraction: noise coming from
vehicles, faulty phone connection, unclear photocopy, loud music, poor lighting,
health problems, and so on. They may result in loss of concentration and failure to
understand what is being communicated by the other party.
References
1. Bovée, Courtland L. & Thill, John V. (2005). Business Communication Today (8th
ed.). USA: Prentice Hall International, Inc.
2. Chaney, Lillian H. and Martin, Jeanette S. (2002). Intercultural Business
Communication (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
3. Dance, Frank E. X. and Larson, Carl E. (1976). The Functions of Human
Communication – A Theoretical Approach. USA: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
4. DeVito, Joseph A. (2001). The Interpersonal Communication Book (9th ed.). New
York: Longman.
5. Littlejohn, Stephen W. (2002). Theories of Human Communication. USA:
Wadsworth Group.
6. Mortensen, C. David (1994). Problematic Communication – The Construction of
Invisible Walls. Connecticut and London: Praeger.
7. Rosenblatt, S. Bernard, Cheatham, T. Richard, and Watt, James T. (1992).
Communication in Business (2nd ed). New York: Prentice Hall.
8. Sigband, Norman B. and Bateman, David N. (1981). Communicating in Business.
USA: Scott, Foresman and Company.
9. Stanton, Nicki (1982). What Do You Mean, ‘Communication’? – An introduction to
communication in business. London and Sydney: Pan Books.
Further readings
Recommended texts
1. Bovee, Courtland L. & Thill, John V. (2005): Business Communication Today. 8th
Edition. Prentice-Hall International Inc. -- Pages 2 - 31
2. Locker, Kitty O. (2006): Business and Administrative Communication. 7th
Edition. Irwin/McGraw-Hill. -- Pages 2- 33.
6
7
Download
Random flashcards
Radiobiology

39 Cards

Pastoralists

20 Cards

Radioactivity

30 Cards

Nomads

17 Cards

Marketing

46 Cards

Create flashcards